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Lower Merion School District

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Gladwyne hosts Ellis Island Day
Gladwyne hosts Ellis Island Day

As part of their recent study of immigration, Gladwyne Elementary School second grade students participated in a recreation of what immigrants experienced upon arrival at Ellis Island, the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station, which processed more than 12 million arrivals from 1892 to 1954. Students dressed in contemporary attire as they arrived "by boat" with their suitcases and went through the immigration procedures, including the "line inspection" of cursory medical examinations from doctors who graciously volunteered their time for the event.

Teachers began the unit with an exploration of maps as students learned how their homes are on streets in neighborhoods, which are part of communities that comprise towns within states, countries, continents and hemispheres. Students then learned more specifics about maps of the United States and the world-at-large.

Prior to Thanksgiving Break, students were then assigned a mini-genealogy project as they were tasked with discussing the origins of their ancestry with their family. When students returned with their respective familial information, classes analyzed the data and participated in discussions on cultural similarities and differences among the diverse collection of heritages. Some of the takeaways from the unit as noted by students were that some families came to the United States to avoid persecution, others were brought against their will and many came in search of a better life. Ultimately, students learned that America is a place of opportunity and a melting pot of wonderful cultures and customs. To view a slideshow of pictures from Ellis Island Day at Gladwyne, click on the image below.


LMSD's Strategic Plan, "All Forward," provides a framework for a collective, intentional and positive approach to change. Its five aspirational pathways guide us toward continual innovation and transformation to further educational excellence for every student. Ellis Island Day serves as an example of Pathway #2: Transformative Curriculum. To learn more about #LMSDAllForward and the Strategic Pathways, click here.

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